Apr 8, 2010 2:53pm
How to determine if a film is copyrighted
Since VideoCellar, the resident copyright expert, seems to be less and less frequently posting, here are some online resources you can use to be walked through the process
A chart of the different laws over the years, then a questionnaire that steps you thru the process of determining if a work is copyrightedhttp://chart.copyrightdata.com/index.php
ON the same website, exercises on how to determine more difficult caseshttp://chart.copyrightdata.com/exercises.html
For GATT restored filmshttp://chart.copyrightdata.com/ForeignExercises.html
Note that as shown in the exercises, the fact that a film is not registered or doesn't have a notice doesn't make it PD if it is a derivative product or if it has a copyrighted screen play or is based on a copyrighted book.
Anyway, this plus the online copyright database should allow anybody to determine copyright registration status of any films released between 1950 - 1964 as they would have had to be renewed after 1978
In the case of films first published outside the USA they probably had their copyrights restored under GATT, but not all. It's not always so easy to figure these out.
Once you have determined that a film is not registered, if you google "name of film" public domain, you might find additional information to help you determine the status.
This post was modified by HektorT on 2010-04-08 21:53:08